Some unvaccinated teachers interested in Pfizer vaccine; GTU to advocate for free COVID-19 tests

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There are some teachers who have not taken a COVID-19 vaccine as yet but have signalled their interest in taking the US-made Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines that are scheduled to be distributed to children between the ages of 12 and 18.

This is according to President of the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) Mark Lyte during a Zoom meeting with hundreds of teachers on Wednesday night.

“We will be making representation to find out if that will be an option for those who so choose,” he said.

That Zoom meeting was held to discuss the union’s position on a recent announcement made by the Ministry of Education. In a press release issued on Monday, the Ministry of Education noted that unvaccinated teachers will be required to submit the results of a PCR COVID-19 test, showing that they have not been infected with the novel coronavirus.

Guyana Teachers’ Union President Mark Lyte

These tests, the ministry said, must be done at an approved private facility and noted that teachers who do not report for duty will be marked absent. The GTU, on Tuesday, disagreed with this announcement.

These tests cost about $20,000 and the News Room reported previously that the Ministry of Health would only provide these tests to people who may have contracted COVID-19 and not for employment purposes.

And on Wednesday night, Lyte said raised concerns that this vaccination requirement would result in teachers being locked out from their schools when schools reopen for the new academic year on September 6. On that date, it is expected that some schools will be reopened for physical classes.

“We do not believe that we should reach that stage where teachers are being locked out.

“We have to have this decision changed before the reopening of schools to ensure that all our teachers get access to their place of work,” Lyte said on Wednesday night.

Importantly, he said that the union would be pursuing legal action if teachers are locked out of schools.

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